Device Stage: Frequently Asked Questions

Applies To: Windows 7



For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.
For a downloadable version of this document, see the Device Stage: Frequently Asked Questions in the Microsoft Download Center (

What is Device Stage?

Device Stage provides a single place to check on and manage printers, digital cameras, mobile phones, mice, keyboards, webcams, and other compatible devices. Manufacturers can customize Device Stage to show relevant status (like the number of shots on your camera) and menu options (like picking a ringtone). Device Stage is always tailored to your device—down to the slick mugshot of your exact model.

What happens when I plug in a supported device?

Device Stage checks the Plug and Play ID for each new device and tries to download an XML-based definition file, which the manufacturer provides. If Device Stage supports the device, then the feature adds the device—including any graphics and features that the manufacturer provided—to Devices and Printers. Additionally, Device Stage displays some devices on the Windows 7 taskbar.

What are the benefits of Device Stage?

Benefits of Device Stage include the following:

  • Device Stage definitions are extensible and upgradeable, so manufactures can easily add features and make hidden features more accessible.

  • Device Stage provides a consistent experience for all supported devices, making tasks and options easy to find. With Device Stage, changing printers or cell phones needn’t mean learning new experiences.

  • Device Stage allows users to identify devices easily, by displaying a photo-realistic icon on the taskbar when users plug those devices in to their computers. Double-clicking or right-clicking the taskbar icon exposes the device’s features and options, without making the user look in different places to configure the device.

Does Device Stage replace Device Manager?

No. You use Device Manager to manage devices that don’t appear in Device Stage, such as hard disks, video cards, and RAM. Of course, you can still manage your devices by using Device Manager, but it doesn’t provide the unified, visual experience that Device Stage provides.

What types of devices does Device Stage support?

Other than your computer, which Device Stage always displays, the feature displays external devices that you can connect to your computer through a port (USB or Bluetooth) or network connection. Examples include the following:

  • Portable devices such as mobile phones, portable music players, and digital cameras

  • USB devices such as external USB hard drives, flash disks, webcams, keyboards, and mice

  • Printers that you connect through a USB cable, the network, or wirelessly

  • Bluetooth devices and wireless USB devices

  • Compatible network devices such as scanners, media extenders, or Network Attached Storage

What should I tell my friends and family about Device Stage?

Tell your friends and family that Device Stage provides a single, consistent visual experience for using their devices. They can use their devices without learning new software every time they get a new device. Not only that, but they’re more likely to use all of those advanced features that to this point have mystified them. When they get Windows 7, tell them to click Start, Devices and Printers to see Device Stage for themselves.

How can Device Stage make supporting my friends and family less frustrating?

By exposing your friends and family to more-advanced features without requiring them to learn new software or call for help, Device Stage can help them to get more out of their devices. Supporting how friends and family use their devices can be easier on you, now that you have only one experience to teach them.